Generic Products

Winterblight

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Any folks out there produce generic products? I'm curious as to how generic products handle creatures or magical items, the kind of things that need stats or rely on game mechanics. Has anyone bought a generic product that covers that kind of content?
 

AsenRG

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Any folks out there produce generic products? I'm curious as to how generic products handle creatures or magical items, the kind of things that need stats or rely on game mechanics. Has anyone bought a generic product that covers that kind of content?
Do you mean "systemless products" or "products for generic systems"?
 

AsenRG

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IME systemless products let you generate a creature or item by describing them as they would seem in character. The GM has to adapt that to the system in use...if any.

Makes sense to me, and I've always considered them useful for when I want the dice to surprise me with ideas.
 

Winterblight

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That makes sense. I wasnt sure if i should come up with some kind of generic stats block, or just describe the features, or both. Something like a vampire would be easy as many games have vampires and nothing really needs to be said about what it is or does. But some stuff might be more unique to the product..
 

AsenRG

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That makes sense. I wasnt sure if i should come up with some kind of generic stats block, or just describe the features, or both. Something like a vampire would be easy as many games have vampires and nothing really needs to be said about what it is or does. But some stuff might be more unique to the product..
Well, that...depends on the game system you're using, don't you think:smile:? For something like D&D 3/4/5 or Exalted2/3? Sure, you might have issues adapting the description to the game... (Though if you're using Fantasy Craft, see "d100", it's that easy).
For an OSR system, you can probably eyeball a monster or item with 5 minutes of thinking.
For a d100 system, cut that in two or three, IME:wink:.
For a Traveller-like/based system? 30 seconds tops. I recently created four-armed, two-legged insectoid demons for Flashing Blades (which has zero monsters) by adapting the idea from Cepheus. Took me all of 30 seconds. (If you're wondering, their stats were: Natural Armour 2/eye attack or cephalothorax hit are unarmored, stunned on 3+ damage in the head/cephalothorax and 5+ in the body, 14 HP for smaller ones, 16 HP for bigger ones, Combat Expertise (treat as Fighting Irons) 14, lunge attack damage 6, or 12 if they have had 1 round to "load up for the jump". Can Attack, but not Counter, with an upper and lower apendage, but take -1 on both attacks). Those are the most complicated stats I've used so far in the game, and yet...I just needed to think what they would do in a fight, and they wrote themselves.

Magic items are the same way, IME. So I find systemless or system-light supplements to be the most useful.
Other people might disagree.
 
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Winterblight

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Would you consider this write up to have enough information to stat it out as a GM?

Bombard Bees

Loud and aggressive, these fist sized bees clearly advertise their presence. As such, it is rare for any creature to accidently disturb them. Exceptionally territorial, bombard bees buzz anything they consider a threat approaching their hive. These flybys are a one-time warning, and any further transgression is met with a vicious assault by the Queen’s chosen, warriors that carry a large sac of chemicals that when mixed explode violently.

These suicidal bees attack in groups of three called a brotherhood. The explosions are deafening, though the real danger is not from the explosion itself, but the noxious cloud the detonation creates. No two hives of bombard bees are exactly the same, and the effects of the noxious cloud from bees of different hives always differs. Typically each cloud has some kind of debilitating or physical effect. Some might be corrosive, or contain some kind of quick acting hallucinogen, while others might simply explode in a ball of flame.

Tales suggest that the honey from the hive has significant healing properties, but getting to the honey is probably not worth the pain of trying.
 

Dumarest

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My answer will likely not be useful as I don't play many games that need stats for magic items or monsters, but the most useful systemless book I have is Lionheart:
picthumb10391-medium.jpg
I have found it very useful for gaming in and around the year 1190 in England, whether it's Ivanhoe, Richard the Lionheart, Robin Hood, or even Pendragon. It has a large color map plus historical, political, and cultural notes, all accurate as far as I know. It's useful to play in the setting itself or even a fantasy game inspired by the setting. I don't really find stats useful anyway as there's nothing easier to me than assigning scores to NPCs or determining the effects or abilities of an object, but like I said I pretty much eschew magical settings.

A book doesn't need to be systemless to be useful for many different games: GURPS sourcebooks are a good example of this, as is Lucha Libre Hero for Hero System which serves as an excellent sourcebook for anyone interested in playing in the wild world of luchador movies. If you know the systems for which they are written, it's easy to translate the stats to another game; but even if you don't it's not hard to write up a scimitar based on whatever damage a regular sword does in your preferred game.

But my main "systemless" products are the novels and nonfiction books I read and use to populate and inspire my games. The best sourcebooks for Flashing Blades, for instance, are the many novels of Alexandre Dumas. No RPG product will replace reading the actual books.

Would you consider this write up to have enough information to stat it out as a GM?

Bombard Bees

Loud and aggressive, these fist sized bees clearly advertise their presence. As such, it is rare for any creature to accidently disturb them. Exceptionally territorial, bombard bees buzz anything they consider a threat approaching their hive. These flybys are a one-time warning, and any further transgression is met with a vicious assault by the Queen’s chosen, warriors that carry a large sac of chemicals that when mixed explode violently.

These suicidal bees attack in groups of three called a brotherhood. The explosions are deafening, though the real danger is not from the explosion itself, but the noxious cloud the detonation creates. No two hives of bombard bees are exactly the same, and the effects of the noxious cloud from bees of different hives always differs. Typically each cloud has some kind of debilitating or physical effect. Some might be corrosive, or contain some kind of quick acting hallucinogen, while others might simply explode in a ball of flame.

Tales suggest that the honey from the hive has significant healing properties, but getting to the honey is probably not worth the pain of trying.
That would be plenty for me to write it up or wing it in the game of my choice. Are you interested in publishing some systemless material?
 

Mankcam

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Would you consider this write up to have enough information to stat it out as a GM?

Bombard Bees

Loud and aggressive, these fist sized bees clearly advertise their presence. As such, it is rare for any creature to accidently disturb them. Exceptionally territorial, bombard bees buzz anything they consider a threat approaching their hive. These flybys are a one-time warning, and any further transgression is met with a vicious assault by the Queen’s chosen, warriors that carry a large sac of chemicals that when mixed explode violently.

These suicidal bees attack in groups of three called a brotherhood. The explosions are deafening, though the real danger is not from the explosion itself, but the noxious cloud the detonation creates. No two hives of bombard bees are exactly the same, and the effects of the noxious cloud from bees of different hives always differs. Typically each cloud has some kind of debilitating or physical effect. Some might be corrosive, or contain some kind of quick acting hallucinogen, while others might simply explode in a ball of flame.

Tales suggest that the honey from the hive has significant healing properties, but getting to the honey is probably not worth the pain of trying.
Yes that's pretty good, I could work with that.

If you want to make it more user-friendly, then I would also list some of the main descriptors in bullet-point form; that way it's easy to read at a glance.

Another useful thing would be having a universal measure for quantifying those listed traits. This could be a simple 5 point scale from 1 being 'rudimentary, basic, etc' up to 5 being 'exceptional, masterful, etc'. Then you can assign that to the descriptors, which really helps GMs convert it on-the-fly to any system they are using.
 
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Dumarest

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Another useful thing would be having a universal measure for quantifying those listed traits. This could be a simple 5 point scale from 1 being 'rudimentary, basic, etc up to 5 being 'exceptional, masterful, etc. Then you can assign that to the descriptors, which really helps GMs convert it on-the-fly to any system they are using.
True, it is much more useful to give me information like Sir Gawaine's swordsmanship is 5/5 and Sir Gareth's is 4/5 so I have a basis to assign them ranks/scores/grades in whatever system I'm using.
 

AsenRG

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Would you consider this write up to have enough information to stat it out as a GM?

Bombard Bees

Loud and aggressive, these fist sized bees clearly advertise their presence. As such, it is rare for any creature to accidently disturb them. Exceptionally territorial, bombard bees buzz anything they consider a threat approaching their hive. These flybys are a one-time warning, and any further transgression is met with a vicious assault by the Queen’s chosen, warriors that carry a large sac of chemicals that when mixed explode violently.

These suicidal bees attack in groups of three called a brotherhood. The explosions are deafening, though the real danger is not from the explosion itself, but the noxious cloud the detonation creates. No two hives of bombard bees are exactly the same, and the effects of the noxious cloud from bees of different hives always differs. Typically each cloud has some kind of debilitating or physical effect. Some might be corrosive, or contain some kind of quick acting hallucinogen, while others might simply explode in a ball of flame.

Tales suggest that the honey from the hive has significant healing properties, but getting to the honey is probably not worth the pain of trying.
No:smile:. But only because you haven't specified their size.
Other than that, yes, no problems in my book:wink:.
 

Winterblight

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My answer will likely not be useful as I don't play many games that need stats for magic items or monsters....
Thats actually all very helpful. Im keen to get as many opinions as I can. To date, everything ive written has been for an existing ruleset. And is possible that not everything I write will be fantasy. My adventure The Witch's Daughter has so little magic in it that I could be played is a non magical setting.

That would be plenty for me to write it up or wing it in the game of my choice. Are you interested in publishing some systemless material?
I have several unpublished adventures and and some setting material that is sitting there doing nothing. So I want to get it out there. So I hope to get 2 or 3 things published this year... Most of it will be System Agnostic (i should have used that in the thread title).
 

Winterblight

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Yes that's pretty good, I could work with that.

If you want to make it more user-friendly, then I would also list some of the main descriptors in bullet-point form; that way it's easy to read at a glance.

Another useful thing would be having a universal measure for quantifying those listed traits. This could be a simple 5 point scale from 1 being 'rudimentary, basic, etc' up to 5 being 'exceptional, masterful, etc'. Then you can assign that to the descriptors, which really helps GMs convert it on-the-fly to any system they are using.
I could probably work something like that that into the descriptions. Thanks.
 

Winterblight

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No:smile:. But only because you haven't specified their size.
Other than that, yes, no problems in my book:wink:.
Yes, fist size isn't exactly a good description. Would you prefer a scale ranging from Tiny to Massive or just something like these bees range from 6 to 7 inches in length.
 

AsenRG

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Yes, fist size isn't exactly a good description. Would you prefer a scale ranging from Tiny to Massive or just something like these bees range from 6 to 7 inches in length.
Nope, it is quite clear, and actually clearer than Tiny to Massive (where I never know whether someone means Puny or Tiny are the smaller entity:wink:). Seems I just missed it...:grin:

OK, I retract the objection, I can easily work with that!
 

spittingimage

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Yes, fist size isn't exactly a good description. Would you prefer a scale ranging from Tiny to Massive or just something like these bees range from 6 to 7 inches in length.
I know how big a fist is. Describe something in inches and I have to reach for my metric-to-imperial ruler.
 

TJS

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I know how big a fist is. Describe something in inches and I have to reach for my metric-to-imperial ruler.
Inches I can just about handle - but if an encumbrance system describes weight in lbs it's pretty much a guarantee it's going to be ignored.
 

AsenRG

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Inches I can just about handle - but if an encumbrance system describes weight in lbs it's pretty much a guarantee it's going to be ignored.
In practice, my players default to the same. I can multiply lbs by 0,45315 kg*, but in practice, I just default to 0,45 kg for most practical purposes...or when I'm not in the mood, I replace them with Chinese measures and proclaim that they're the same** by GM fiat and tinkering with the setting's gravity.


*No, I didn't need a table...nor do I need it for knowing that an inch is 2,54 cm and a foot is 12 inches, or 30,48 cm, while a yard is 3 feet. But that's due to the Bulgarian translator of Tolkien who kindly decided to keep them in Imperial and include a table in the intro.
*They're not quite close, but are easier to convert to kilograms. And of course, that's all that matters.
 
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AsenRG

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I wouldn't know what a kilogram looked like if it bit me on the ass!
Don't worry, even if it happens. A kilogram is more likely to be painful if it falls on your foot:smile:.
Though admittedly, it seems they write it* as kilogramme in American English. But I've only studied Queen's English methodically, and catched a bit of the other versions here and there:wink:.

*Wrongly, of course:tongue:.
 

clash bowley

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I have never noticed anyone write "kilogramme" ever. Always "kilogram", and I am fine with any metric measurement or imperial measurement. I have seen "tonnes" as a metric ton (1,000 kilograms, or roughly 2200 pounds) though.
 

Dumarest

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...it seems they write it* as kilogramme in American English.
Nope. That must be residual Soviet propaganda.

That looks like something the British would do, along with "tonne" and "programme." They love extra letters in words.
 

AsenRG

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Nope. That must be residual Soviet propaganda.

That looks like something the British would do, along with "tonne" and "programme." They love extra letters in words.
I hear they don't love them, but they at least keep them after borrowing the word from French:devil:.
 

spittingimage

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That looks like something the British would do, along with "tonne" and "programme." They love extra letters in words.
If I remember my history, America was forced to ration letters during the civil war, and post-war the demand never regained its earlier level. Britain agreed to take excess American letters in a trade deal negotiated in the years following WWII, due to a growing shortage at home (referred to in the press as the "u wot mate" problem). US letters filled the manufacturing shortfall until Britain gained access to Polish letters through the EU markets.
 
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